Spiralling Downwards

April 7, 2010
I run faster and faster and laugh as the wind is blowing in my hair and my feet pound faster and faster.
I’m strong and powerful and my legs have never felt better. I can outlast anyone; I am on top on the world.
I lunge for the ball and I hit it and suddenly I am spiraling towards the ground and my life is spiraling downwards.
I can no longer finish the games I love to play. I am carried off the field sobbing.
I can no longer walk when I am supposed to run.
I am watched by everyone to watch over myself. I want them to watch someone else.
What’s pain when it’s for something you love? The pain goes away later, it’s ok!
I am passed from doctor to doctor like a rusty penny nobody wants.
“I can’t do much for you, but I know someone that can!”
My teachers turn into specialists and my classes turn into appointments.
I bring in more excuse slips to school than I do homework.
The weeks turn into months and the waiting never stops.
A feeling develops when I go places that I know will bring me pain.
I lie on crinkly paper as needles are slid into me, as my skin is pierced and felt and people talk about me like I am not even there.
I become used to high-tech tests that other people can’t even imagine.
It’s spiraling downward.
Then. No sports for a year.
I can’t think about anything without bursting into tears.
I go to surgery and suddenly I am bedridden.
Running cleared my head before, now, I can’t even walk to the bathroom.
I walk around a town where appearance is everything and people spend a hundred dollars on a sweater in a brace that makes people call me Robogirl.
I tear it off every night and curse it. And go to sleep dreading knowing I have to wear it tomorrow.
Where I had calluses from sports before, I now have calluses from crutches.
The weeks turn into months and the waiting never stops.
Then. I am off crutches; I am out of the brace!
I am allowed to walk to school and such an insignificant thing becomes the highlight of my day.
I still get upset if someone complains about having to run or go to practice.
Every time someone complains, I regret the games I couldn’t play because I was in too much pain. What’s pain if it’s for something you love?
I bounce on my trampoline as my rebellion to not being allowed to do anything physical. Bouncing. This is my rebellion.
I am told I am allowed to run for a minute at a time. I feel like I have just won the World Cup.
I run more and more and no longer feel powerful or strong or fast. But I laugh because I know I will be.
I am so much slower than everyone else but I am getting faster. Soon I can keep up. The last year is finally behind me!
The girls chosen for the soccer team are posted outside the office. It’s a sinking feeling.
I run and run and suddenly I feel the familiar pain.
It’s a sinking feeling.
The appointments flash before me and I see months more of pain coming.
I see myself at the meets where I should be running. I see my friends walking away from me as they go to warm up. I see another girl running in my place on my team. I see myself spiraling downwards.
I see myself bedridden. I see myself sobbing. I see myself loathing my body. I see myself strapping the brace tight around my waist. I see myself laughing off the jokes. I see myself crying myself to sleep.
I see myself thinking it will be over soon, I will run soon. I will play soccer, I will run track. I will jump and twist without worrying. I will be strong and fast and powerful.
I’m remembering and the memories are blending with the present.
I will not be running any time soon.
I am seeing the surgeon next week.
It’s all spiraling downwards.
It’s happening again. On your marks, set, stop.

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